The study, which was conducted by Marie Reid, Richard Hammersley and colleagues from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, set out to determine the long-term effects of adding a sucrose drink to the diet of overweight women (BMI 25-30, aged 20 - 55), on dietary intake and mood.
The results showed that overweight women do not suffer adverse effects, such as weight gain or mood fluctuation, if they do not know whether or not they are drinking a sugary or artificially sweetened drink.
Instead women took in fewer calories elsewhere in the diet, to balance the calories in the drinks.
"Sugar in moderation plays a neutral role in the balanced diet, but an emotionally charged role in the psychology of food choice," Reid said.
The new research is published in the August issue of the journal Appetite.